Green Room

First Lady reconstructs history of her husband’s childhood struggles

posted at 10:55 am on October 3, 2011 by

Covering a recent $2,500-a-plate luncheon in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, ABC reports that Michelle Obama (aka, the president’s “secret campaign weapon”) told 100 donors that her husband deserves re-election not only for his first-term accomplishments but because he “knows what it means when a family struggles”:

He understands these issues, not just because he’s smart but because he’s lived them.

He was raised by a single mother who struggled to put herself through school and pay the bills. And when she needed help, who stepped in? His grandmother, waking up early every morning to take a bus to her job at the bank.

Then Mrs. Obama excused herself because she had to get over to Target before the sale on economy-sized boxes of cornflakes ended.

The First Lady’s sob story, such as it is, is not the first fictional tale of personal hardship she has spun. During her husband’s presidential campaign she made similar claims about her own upbringing, telling voters,”I was raised in a working-class family on the south Side of Chicago. That’s how I identify myself, a working-class girl.”

But that’s not how one of her long-time friends, Angela Acree, remembered her to Sharon Churcher of The Mail:

Michelle was from a middle-class family.

She came from a regular family. They had a nice home. It wasn’t a mansion, but it was just fine. It was a decent neighbourhood.

Adds Churcher, who paid a visit to the house where Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was raised:

Instead of the one-room tenement that now appears in most accounts of her upbringing, we found a well-kept neighbourhood of red-brick Arts and Craft-style houses which have long been home to respectable black families.

And what about her husband’s own childhood—his grandmother getting on a bus every morning to go to work (oh, the humanity!) or his single mother struggling to make ends meet? According to Obama’s own half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama’s mother sent him to Honolulu at age 10 to stay with his maternal grandparents. She remained behind in Indonesia to complete her dissertation on peasant blacksmithing in Java.

The neighborhood in Honolulu where Obama was raised, Makiki, is described as “unassuming” but not impoverished. Honolulu historian and archivist DeSoto Brown wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Obama’s neighbors “were mostly store clerks, restaurant workers and small business owners—many aspiring to government jobs.” (Not unlike the future president himself!)

In vivid contrast to either Obama’s make-believe poverty are the real-life experiences of Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). Johnson, who appeared yesterday on Fox News Sunday, told host Chris Wallace:

I grew up in a family of 10 kids, first one to go to college, and I’ve earned my success. I’ve earned my right to fly private if I choose to do so. And by attacking me, is not going to convince me that I should take a bigger hit because I happen to be wealthy.

Johnson also had some advice for the president, who he said “should recalibrate his message,” adding, “You don’t get people to like you by attacking them or demeaning their success.”

It would seem as though the president’s better half could benefit as well from Johnson’s cautionary tale.

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I ain’t no ways tired.

And what about her husband’s own childhood—his grandmother getting on a bus every morning to go to work (oh, the humanity!)

As payback, the vindictive narcissist has plans to make sure everyone has to ride the bus.

Pass this bill! slowly (or quickly) turning into Pass the Buck!

BobMbx on October 3, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Maybe mo isn’t all that sure about bho’s childhood as some others aren’t either?
L

letget on October 3, 2011 at 1:24 PM

His grandmother, waking up early every morning to take a bus to her job at the bank.

As though Mrs. Dunham was a teller or clerk. The fact is that Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama’s grandmother, was a vice president of Bank of Hawaii.

rokemronnie on October 3, 2011 at 1:26 PM

His grandmother, waking up early every morning to take a bus to her job at the bank.

Was that the same bus Obama threw her under after the election?

brdchris1 on October 3, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Ann Dunham divorced in 1964 and remarried in 1965. Having a short period between husbands hardly makes one a “single mother.”

munseym on October 3, 2011 at 3:01 PM

The fact is that Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama’s grandmother, was a vice president of Bank of Hawaii.

Excellent!

Ann Dunham divorced in 1964 and remarried in 1965. Having a short period between husbands hardly makes one a “single mother.”

Better and better!

His grandmother, waking up early every morning to take a bus to her job at the bank.

Was that the same bus Obama threw her under after the election?

Priceless!

Howard Portnoy on October 3, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Obama 2009 Income…

Obama also sold two inheritances from his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died in the final days of his campaign. He made less than $1,000 from the sale of a tax-free trust.

A second inheritance — shares in the Bank of Hawaii where his grandmother rose from a secretary to a vice president — sold for between $250,000 and $500,000…

Fallon on October 3, 2011 at 3:29 PM

A second inheritance — shares in the Bank of Hawaii where his grandmother rose from a secretary to a vice president — sold for between $250,000 and $500,000…

But only because he sold them to Warren Buffet, who bought them to assuage his white liberal guilt. They were actually worth 35 cents.

Howard Portnoy on October 3, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Poor little Barry, growing up in Hawaii with his bank VP granny. She probably had to take the bus to work because the payments for Barry’s tuition at the most expensive private school on Oahu cut into the amount she could afford to spend on taxi fares.

We all should have been lucky enough to have grown up with the kind of financial “struggles” these two pampered princesses endured.

AZCoyote on October 3, 2011 at 5:26 PM

I didn’t realize that Moochelle bought a Crock Pot while she was at Target. Nobody can cook up a crock-o-shite like our future former flotus!

Naturally Curly on October 3, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Also, unless my old horse trainer is a complete liar, Obama went to the same elite private school in Honalulu with her and her brother. Something I was told way before he ran for potus.

Ann NY on October 4, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Who cares how she grew up?!?!

She’s living like a frickin PRINCESS on OUR backs NOW!

KMC1 on October 4, 2011 at 11:08 AM